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NorthEast Radio Watch 7/2: WBEC, WMSX Sold

*We'll start this week with two station sales in MASSACHUSETTS.  The
big one is out west in the Berkshires, where Tele-Media is paying
$4.65 million to buy Aritaur's three-station group, news-talk WBEC
(1420 Pittsfield), CHR WBEC-FM (105.5 Pittsfield), and religious WZEC
(97.5 Hoosick Falls NY, still running the format it had in its
pre-Aritaur days as WNGN).

The deal expands Tele-Media's reach eastward from its station group in
Albany (WABY, WABY-FM, WKLI/WKBE) over the state line into the
Pittsfield market, and leaves NERW wondering -- is an
Albany-Pittsfield simulcast on the way?

We also have to wonder what will become of the other station owned by
Aritaur's Joseph Gallagher, WBET (1460) in Brockton.  Gallagher's KJI
Broadcasting sold WBET's sister station, WCAV (97.7), to Radio One a
few weeks back for a tidy profit.

Meantime, the *other* station in Brockton, WMSX (1410), is getting a
new owner -- and it's a familiar buyer of late.  Keating Willcox's
Willow Farm Broadcasting is paying $674,000 to buy WMSX from Donald
Sandler, the second deal in a year Sandler's Metro South Broadcasting
has made to sell the station.  The first, to Monte Bowen's Griot
Communications, was never consummated.

Willcox has been building quite a ring of stations around Boston, from
Beverly around to Nashua and down to Woonsocket and Taunton.  Could
MetroWest be next?

There's a change of program directors at Boston talker WRKO (680), as
Kevin Straley takes his last elevator ride down to Huntington Avenue
after two years in the big seat.  Replacing him is veteran Beantown
programmer Al Mayers, whose resume includes an earlier stint at WRKO
as well as the now-defunct WHDH.  Also leaving Entercom/Boston is
promotions honcho Frank Murtaugh, who's off to form his own national
media marketing company.

On the TV dial, both viewers of channel 46 out of Norwell probably
failed to notice the new calls on the all-infomercial station.  It's
dropping the WBPX calls that went with its old Pax affiliation, in
favor of WWDP(TV) for owner Devon Paxson.  WBPX is being warehoused on
an LPTV down in Florida, but we'll be not one bit surprised to see the
calls show up on Boston's channel 68 one day soon.

*Nothing doing this week in NEW HAMPSHIRE, so on we go to MAINE, where
the doors remain open at the Elegante Ballroom for now.  If you're
hoping for one last spin on the dance floor at the finest imaginary
performance hall high atop Mount Rialto, you'd best not wait too long,
though -- we hear the sounds of WCDQ (92.1 Sanford) will finally come
to a close within a week or two, as the WPHX calls and Boston Phoenix
owners take over.

Up in East Orland, the fine folks at WERU (89.9 Blue Hill) are making
plans to co-host the 1999 Grassroots Radio Conference August 20-23.
Mel and Randy and Lowry won't be there, but you can find out who will
be by checking their Web site at

A correction from last week's special edition recounting the Big Trip
of 1998: Dan Cole is still very much at WGAN (560 Portland), no matter
what we may have said.  And we hear Adam Wolf, who really is no longer
with WGAN, is now doing public relations for the YWCA of Greater

*One VERMONT note: Middlebury College's WRMC (91.1 Middlebury) is
applying to boost power in a big way, from 100 watts to 2900.  The new
antenna would be 2 meters higher (but still 9 meters below average
terrain), and just a hair to the north of the existing site.

*A few changes to note at CONNECTICUT's big CHR, WKSS (95.7 Hartford),
starting with the departure of operations manager/midday guy Jeremy
Savage.  He's headed down to the Big Apple to be director of broadcast
operations at CD Radio, one of several satellite-radio companies
hoping to make stations like WKSS obsolete someday.  WKSS music
director Mike McGowan moves from middays to afternoons, with Gina J
taking over 10 AM to 1 PM, followed by Kera from 1 to 4 PM, McGowan,
and new night guy JD Redman, who comes over from Syracuse's WWHT.

The FCC has flagged the proposed sale of WINE/WRKI/WAXB in the Danbury
market for market-share review.  It's probably not that big a deal;
the FCC seems to be clearing these pretty quicly of late.

*Across the state line in NEW YORK, the biggest news seems to be a new
translator in Water Mill.  Don't know where that is?  Neither did we,
since it's but a little dot on the road between Southampton and
Bridgehampton, way out on Long Island's East End.  But the
"Educational" Media Foundation seems to think the residents of the
area have a pressing public need that can be served by a translator of
KLVN (88.3 Livingston CA), so the public interest, convenience, and
necessity will soon be aided by 19-watt W207BE on 89.3.

Up in the Albany area, the ABC/SMN "Soft Gold" format being heard on
WABY-FM (94.5 Ravena) is getting picked up just a little ways to the
west as well, on WIZR (930 Johnstown), recently purchased by WABY
competitor Albany Brodcasting.

Saratoga Springs' WKAJ (900) is getting new calls to go with its new
owner.  Ernie Anastos has applied for WUAM as the new calls for the
little adult-standards outlet, marking the second time the station has
dropped its original calls.  Just north in Glens Falls, the FCC lists
WCQL as the "new calls" for the station on 95.9, which is kind of
silly since the license has been around for a couple of decades and
the WCQL calls have been in use there for a few years now.  Sounds
like a database correction to us...

Heading towards Syracuse, we're told new WRVD (90.3) is on with just
half power for now, but that should change soon.  

Auburn's WHCD (106.9) is indeed being sold, as Butch Charles hands
over the keys to the smooth-jazz outlet to "Mag Mile Media LLC."
We're keeping an ear on this one, which comes in quite well under the
flea-power signal of local WKGS (106.7 Irondequoit); updates to

A well-known voice is returning to Rochester's WCMF (96.5) on the
weekdays.  Bill Moran ("The Moranimal") yielded the 3-7 PM slot on
'CMF to BJ Shea two years ago; now Shea is out the door and Moran
returns to the slot after a couple of years in the advertising
business (and doing weekends on WCMF to keep his pipes fresh).

Congratulations to WXXI (1370 Rochester) on its fifteenth anniversary
on the air (and hey, Bob, did you ever find that tape from July 2,

Across the lake, the CBC changes frequencies on its Peterborough
transmitter on Monday (July 5), as CBCP moves from 93.5 to 98.7.
Listeners on the U.S. side will lose that signal under the hash from
WBBF (98.9 Rochester), just a few weeks after losing the big signal
from CBL 740.  Little CKOL in Campbellford will move to 93.5 from
98.7, with 93.5A also being opened in Toronto for what's likely to be
an urban-formatted station.   

The CRTC, meantime, is taking applications for a new
commercial station at Belleville.  Open allocations include a class A
channel on 100.1 and class B channels at 102.3 and 104.3.  The latter
could even get across the lake to Rochester sometimes...

Finally, the FCC has dismissed Family Life Radio's application for an
89.3 translator on Grand Island (between Buffalo and Niagara Falls)
for WCOU (88.3 Warsaw).  

*That's it for this week; we'll see you next Friday.  A happy (if
slightly early) Fourth to our US readers, and a happy (if slightly
belated) Canada Day to our readers north of the border.  

We'll see you next Friday -- and in the meantime, be sure to check
out the Boston Radio Archives
<http://www.bostonradio.org/radio/bostonradio.org> for our audio look
back at CBL; just click on "What's New" to find it.

- ---------------------NorthEast Radio Watch------------------------
                     (c)1999  Scott Fybush

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